Sometimes you think about something for years, you reject the idea again and again until someone takes the initiative at the right time. Barbelie Wiegmann , Zen practitioners since a time when sitting in silence was still something very exotic, has set out to establish a network Buddhism in Bonn . Time for an interview …

3 treasures: Dear Barbelies, I am pleased to have this little interview. Do you like to tell something about your person?

Barbelies Wiegmann : I am a lawyer specializing in family law. But for almost 20 years I have worked as a lawyer mediator in family conflicts.

3 treasures : Although we both walk the Zen path and live here in beautiful Bonn, we only really met each other just over a year ago, when you launched the “Buddhism Network in Bonn”. What was the motivation for such a network?

Barbelies Wiegmann : Little by little I learned that in Bonn there are many Buddhist communities that know little or nothing about each other. I wanted to change that, because even with the traditionally different practice of the groups, all are basically on the path of the Buddha. In addition to my little sangha, I also wanted a big sangha Bonn, so that we could get to know each other, talk about similarities and differences and plan joint projects – but also so that Buddhism in Bonn can have face and voice.

3 treasures : Are all or at least most of the Buddhist groups in Bonn participating?

Barbelies Wiegmann : As far as I can see, almost all groups are interested in the network and also participate, of course some more and some less.

Logo Netzwerk Buddhismus in Bonn

3 treasures : What ideas is the network pursuing? Are there any joint projects?

Barbelies Wiegmann : So far, there are two joint projects: Since 2016, a film series in the Bonner Kinemathek (bread factory) was created in which every fourth. Wednesdays a month a film with Buddhist theme is shown.

The second joint project is the joint celebration of the Vesakh Festival. For the first time in May of this year, we celebrated this festival, traditionally, very beautifully and dignified. For 2018, we are planning such a celebration, perhaps on a larger scale. Further projects are possible.

3 guess : What is your role as coordinator?

Barbelies Wiegmann : First of all, I organized a first meeting in April 2016, after I was finally successful in finding all addresses. Since then, I have been picking up all the messages, suggestions and suggestions from individuals or groups, and passing them on to everyone else, sometimes putting them up for discussion.

For 2017, I had already invited to a meeting in March. A new meeting is scheduled for the fall, especially to prepare for the 2018 Vesakh Festival.

Buddhismus Gruppen Bonn 2016 klein 1024x579

3 treasures : Are there any plans how the Vesakh festival will be designed next year?

Barbelies Wiegmann : There are only a few suggestions so far. Some would like to celebrate this festival outdoors in public, others still have concerns. Just take a look…

3 treasures : How long have you practiced zazen? Do you see yourself in a certain tradition?

Barbelies Wiegmann : I have practiced zazen for over 30 years. At the beginning of the eighties I was looking for and found a yoga teacher, because I wanted to do something for my body because of bad sleep problems. He in turn told with shining eyes of – at that time unknown – retreats in zazen and recommended getting to know Rütte, a small village in the Black Forest near Todtmoos. There, Karlfried Graf Dürckheim had settled down and founded a kind of therapy village with a spiritual orientation. With him I learned to sit in zazen and to handle my breath. Some time later, through friends of Gundula Meyer near Braunschweig, I became a former Protestant pastor and – after much study in Japan – Zen Master. With her, I spent many years at the “Ohof”, in extremely strict retreats (12 seats per day.) I had a lot of knee pain and wondered secretly if that was the case.

At a retreat in the “Waldhaus” in the Eifel, by Fumon Nakagawa Roshi (iron book), – about 1994 – I discovered the books of Thich Nhat Hanh and knew very soon that he would be my teacher. So I went to “Plum Village” in southern France in his local center, twice in total. A center full of sun and joy. There was no knee pain, because you stretched or stopped when it hurt.

To my personal delight, since 2010, Thich Nhat Hanh has come once a year to the summer retreat in the Center he founded in Waldbröl EIAB (European Institute of Applied Buddhism), ended by his illness in 2015. At the center of his teaching is not only love and compassion, but above all joy and happiness. I especially remember: “Parents need to be role models for their children. A role model in happiness. “I try.

3 treasures: Do you also practice together with others in a group?

Barbelies Wiegmann : Yes, every two weeks we come together in our Sangha, which my husband, Werner Wiegmann, founded and manages. We practice zazen (2 rounds of 30 minutes with Kinhin), recite the Heart Sutra, hear a good text and talk about this text after the tea ceremony. Finally, we stand hand in hand in the circle, and I say goodbye to the sangha with the Tibetan blessing: “May all beings be fortunate and the causes of happiness …”

3 treasures : Do you spontaneously come across an anecdote from old Zen days?

Barbelies Wiegmann : Right away I can not think of an own anecdote. One well-known anecdote that I particularly appreciate is, ” A disciple asks his master,” What comes after death? “Master answers,” I do not know. ” Then the student, somewhat irritated: “Why do not you know that, you’re a master!” Then the master: “But no dead “.

3 treasures : For me personally, it is very nice to see you and Werner as a couple, which has kept its openness to life even in advanced age. As a lawyer for family law, in 1980 you wrote the book “End of the Housewife Eve” (Rowohlt, out of print). Would you say that your attitude is based on the common Zen practice and / or on your experiences from your time as a lawyer? Are there any “recipes” that have come out of this, things that you have just tackled differently?

Barbelies Wiegmann : We fought a lot against each other, especially in the seventies and eighties, where monogamy was out. But we stayed in conversation , sometimes in self-experience groups, each for themselves or in common groups or with friends. I believe that the hardest part of a partnership is to increasingly perceive the other’s otherness , to accept it, to live well with it and to enjoy the commonalities.

Certainly, the common path of Buddha helped us with love and compassion; but also my experience as a family lawyer, by employment of both not too great dependencies arise. I was also very active in the New Women’s Movement, which wanted and wants to end patriarchy.

3 treasures : In your life today not only meditation has its place, but also mediation. Can you still talk in a few words about your job or vocation?

Barbelies Wiegmann : As a lawyer in family law, I was in the midst of horrible marriage and divorce wars , in which the last perfect porcelain was smashed. As a rule, the children then pay the bill. So I was happy when, in the early 1990s, a new way of resolving conflicts came out of the US, mediation, where a neutral third person helps the conflicting parties achieve a fair and satisfactory resolution to the conflict. I trained immediately – then with great American teachers – and since then I have worked exclusively as a mediator. I regard my work as a piece of peace work, for the society, but especially for the children.

3 treasures : Thank you very much for this interview …



Meditation workshop with Julian Welzel

Meditationsworkshop Julian Welzel

When we hear the word meditation, we usually think of a Buddha sitting in silence in silence; a knowing, happy and relaxed smile on his face. A forerunner and symbol since 2500 years, represented in many statues and pictures and now even spread in the West in the form of living room decoration. Therefore, those who want to experience meditation and try it out may think: “What survives so many years must have a true core. So I’m just going to sit in silence like the Buddha. “Whoever does it will find it’s not easy. And certainly not at all. The body hurts, the thoughts clatter relentlessly and without pause. And even if the true and wonderful core is there, for years you can imitate the Buddha without experiencing the quality of meditation – a frustrating experience that may even exacerbate the stress you were trying to get rid of.

Why is that? The Indian master Osho has once aptly stated that the everyday reality and thus the body and mind of man have changed over 2500 years. ADHD and ‘burnout’ under the Bodhi tree in ancient India? Hardly imaginable! Today, unlike Siddhartha Gautama, we live in a very different, modern and hectic world. We think and operate fast and much, participate in constant communication over the Internet, approaching things almost exclusively in objective consideration. In this world, we put the most energy into our heads, put a lot of stress on our bodies and suppress emotions to achieve goals or our self-image. When I sit down in this world and turn inward, this world reverberates for a very long time. The body is full of blockages, the energy remains in the head despite best efforts, the heart closed. We then stay in the seat with the consciousness always stuck to something and stuck. Trying to be just IS then nothing more than a complex attempt of the mind and the MACHER in us – we turn in circles.

So though it may seem like a tiresome detour to our minds, we must begin with our bodies and our heaviness and let go of all the baggage that we have accumulated and carried around with us. It may sound paradoxical, but we need to move in order to experience silence. Only when we have softened the coarse and our inner walls, we can slowly open ourselves to the finer and more subtle within us.

Who is this experimenting with meditation techniques aimed at?

  • You always wanted to meditate, but do not know where to start? Then your experience with various meditations will not only give you first interesting experiences, but also help to see where you are going or going.
  • You think you can not sit still? And that’s why meditation is not for you? Then, in this workshop, you can try out active meditations that may be more appropriate for you to access.
  • You already practice meditation (no matter which direction) but have the feeling of being stuck? The initially deep and enriching experiences have given way to pain, frustration and mental repetition or lack of motivation? Then it’s time to change something and try something new.

In this workshop, you will learn a variety of active, moving and guided meditations in addition to the sitting meditation, which are based on this spectrum of body to energy. The focus is on the experience, you can just see which method in you something moves – and you may experience a meditative quality. The meditations come from different spiritual schools and traditions, from Buddhism and Osho to Taoism and meditations from Julian’s teachers. To participate you need no previous knowledge.

Julian Welzel Portait

Julian Welzel started in 2010 with the sitting meditation Zazen in the San Bo Dojo in Bonn. This was followed by a long journey through monasteries and meditation centers in France, India, China, Thailand and the USA, where he became acquainted with many meditation accesses and spiritual schools / traditions. After receiving massage training in the mind-bending massage forms Chi Nei Tsang (abdominal massage) and Ayurvedic massage at Khun Ni in Thailand and Shikha Dhyan in India, Julian has been working as an independent massage therapist in Cologne since 2016.